"We are at war," Fulton "Buddy" Lewis III declared last night.
The former member of the staff of the House Un-American Activities Committee defended the Committee's movie, Operation Aboltion, before a full house last night in the Gological Lecture Room.
Lewis's assertion that the country is at war was needed to rescue a train of logic that began when he agreed that the college students in last May's San Francisco demonstrations against the HUAC were "verging on treason." Then he defined treason as "aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war," and added, "Well, we call it a cold war."
Questioned further, he saw "no possible argument" against his statement, pointing out that the U.S. "has troops all over the world" and that $45 billion is spent annually on defense.
Lewis is currently engaged in "explaining" Operation Abolition to college groups in this area. Last night, he handled a sometimes hostile crowd with considerable aplomb, and produced impressive domumentation for some of his claims.
The audience, composed of members of the Young Americans for Freedom and the International Relations Council, as well as a healthy complement of outsiders, was about evenly divided in sentiment.
In his remarks, the youthful Lewis emphasized the need for the HUAC and the Committee's respect for men's right to their own opinions. Some of his arguments, which to some members of the audience represented considerable gaffes, were:
* "There are two sides to the Communist coin in this country." The Committee, he said, is not concerned with those who share the religious, political, social, and economic views of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev. "These people, crackpots though they may be, are entitled to their beliefs."
* In the San Francisco demonstrations the students outside the building in which HUAC hearings were held were not incited by Communists. The demonstrators in the hallways of the building and in the hearing room, however, were "Communist-inspired."
* The recent 412-6 vote to renew the HUAC's appropriation was "the largest endorsement Congress has ever given the Committee."
* The students and others arrested in connection with the demonstrations were never convicted of any offense, but "the important thing was that they were arrested."
* The violence described in the film's narrative is actually there--"unless you choose not to see it or have a different conception of what violence is. Archie Brown wouldn't see violence in the Hungarian Revolution."
* It is "hard to say" whether or not James Roosevelt, the House's leading oponent of the HUAC is a dupe of the Communists.
* If the HUAC were abolished, there would be a new committee serving the same purpose in 24 hours. "The FBI's job is to see that present laws are enforced. It can only report to the President, who would refer any new- legislation to Congress, which would refer to a committee."
* Operation Abolition does not imply that all opponents of the HUAC, or all those at or Communist dupes.